• Question: Have you as a scientist found a cure for any diseases?

    Asked by neal to Laura, Nicola, Norman, Sandra, Thanasis on 12 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Laura Soul

      Laura Soul answered on 12 Mar 2013:

      Nope sadly not because I don’t really do that kind of research, I know people who do though and its obviously a very important area of science, so if you’re interested in it that’s really great!

    • Photo: Nicola Wardrop

      Nicola Wardrop answered on 12 Mar 2013:

      No, I’m not really working on cures for disease, but my work will help after a cure has been found, by showing where we should go to treat people for some diseases!

    • Photo: Norman Lazarus

      Norman Lazarus answered on 12 Mar 2013:

      To find a cure for a disease is very rare. What is possible is to find a drug that will help keep the disease from getting worse. There are cures for polio, various childhood sicknesses. These cures are vaccinations that do not cure the disease but stop the diseases from starting. As you can guess these are the best cures. Mostly, individual scientists provide one link in a long chain until some very clever individual finds the last link in the chain and out pops a new cure. The road to a cure is long, hard, very rare, exciting and rewarding

    • Photo: Sandra Phinbow

      Sandra Phinbow answered on 12 Mar 2013:

      I answered a very similar question to this, so if I may I’d like to use the same answer, as it applies.

      I haven’t tried to find a cure for cancer as a disease, but I do help to cure patients of cancer.

      For example I have prepared tissues or cells in a way that allows a pathologist to look at them and diagnose cancer. I have helped them by being good at the technical side and by providing them with a high quality slide.

      Also, I look at cells on slides in cervical smears, and by knowing what is normal, and what is abnormal I make a decision on how a patient is investigated and treated. My diagnosis is checked to make sure I am correct, this is something that happens for everyone looking at slides, we check someone’s diagnosis to make sure nothing has been missed.

      There might be 150,000 cells on a slide, they all need to be looked at to make the correct diagnosis.

      We are not looking for cancer itself, we look for cells that are not normal – cells that are abnormal, or ‘dyskaryotic’. Dyskaryotic does not mean they are cancerous, they are not.

      By detecting cells that are abnormal, we can refer the patient for any further tests she might need, and treatment.

      Those cells have the potential to turn into cancer if they are left untreated.

      So I guess I can say I cure cancer – in a round about sort of way but before it has the chance to happen.